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  • Death ride of the High Seas Fleet.

    In October 1918 the High Seas Fleet was ordered to put to sea to raid the Channel and Thames estuary. In real life the Fleet mutineed and refused to sail on what was perceived to be a suicide mission. But what if it had sailed and presumably been intercepted by the Grand Fleet in a re run of Jutland.
    The Grand Fleet was stronger in 1918 than at Jutland with more and better ships. All Revenge class battleships and Renoun class battle cruisers were now in service, all of which had 15" guns as well as he QEs. There was even an American battleship squadron. The poor ammunition handling procedures had been fixed and the quality of armour piercing shells had been improved. On the minus side Beatty was in overall command.

    The Germans had decommissioned their old pre dreadnoughts and now included two 15" gun armed battleships.

    While it is is almost certain the Germans would be anhilated would they be able to seriously damage the Allied Fleet?
    "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

  • #2
    Germany could afford to lose their entire fleet and it would change nothing. For the British, the loss of a major portion of the Royal Navy in a fight would be a disaster. Britain needed a strong navy as a sea power. For Germany, a land power, a fleet was a luxury. If you coupled this with the Kaiser's offensive and the breaking of the front and collapse of the British Third Army, among other large formations, it could have been a political perfect storm.

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    • #3
      The most justified mutiny in history.
      The Germans would have been slaughtered for nothing.

      The American BBs could have withstood the German firepower for as long as it took for the RN to find the range, and that would have been the end of it.

      However, the German Sailors must have been very frustrated later on. For six months after the Armistice, the RN enforced a "Hunger Blockade" designed to starve the Germans to death, in order to force them to sign the Versailles Treaty.
      Maybe they changed their minds later on...
      "Why is the Rum gone?"

      -Captain Jack

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      • #4
        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
        Germany could afford to lose their entire fleet and it would change nothing. For the British, the loss of a major portion of the Royal Navy in a fight would be a disaster. Britain needed a strong navy as a sea power. For Germany, a land power, a fleet was a luxury. If you coupled this with the Kaiser's offensive and the breaking of the front and collapse of the British Third Army, among other large formations, it could have been a political perfect storm.
        This.

        The British Navy held the Empire together, especially since so many colonial troops had seen the British Army stuck in the trenches. The RN was the last 'big stick'. It had not performed well at Jutland.

        Should the Germans inflict even losses it would have been bad; with their superior optics and ranging systems, if they had inflicted heavier losses it would have been a disaster.

        The British public were fed up of four years of pointless slaughter, the French Army was finished as an offensive force, and Italy had just suffered a severe defeat; having the Fleet humiliated would only make things worse.

        A naval setback could have caused a delay in sending US troops over, thus denying the Allies a big morale boost. The USA had side-stepped into the conflict with mixed feelings; keeping the Army home would certainly settle the primary source of outrage, which was Germany's offer of US states to Mexico. Wilson had to walk a thin line.

        Churchill noted that Beatty was the man who could lose the war in a single afternoon.
        Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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        • #5
          This was only one month before the end of the war, so it would have changed nothing. Even if the British had lost some ships, it wouldn't have made any difference. There would just have been fewer to scrap after the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.
          PS-AJR-that was Jellicoe, not Beatty.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by johns624 View Post
            This was only one month before the end of the war, so it would have changed nothing. Even if the British had lost some ships, it wouldn't have made any difference. There would just have been fewer to scrap after the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.
            PS-AJR-that was Jellicoe, not Beatty.
            That's why I suggested an earlier "death ride." The High Seas Fleet goes to sea to engage the Royal Navy concurrent with the launching of the Kaiser's offensive in March 1918. If they had done that say, a week after the front collapses, and the RN suffered heavy losses (doesn't matter what the German losses are particularly), it might have been enough to collapse British morale at home. The French Army had mutinied once already, so a British morale collapse might have brought a negotiated end to the war.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post

              This.

              The British Navy held the Empire together, especially since so many colonial troops had seen the British Army stuck in the trenches. The RN was the last 'big stick'. It had not performed well at Jutland.

              Should the Germans inflict even losses it would have been bad; with their superior optics and ranging systems, if they had inflicted heavier losses it would have been a disaster.

              The British public were fed up of four years of pointless slaughter, the French Army was finished as an offensive force, and Italy had just suffered a severe defeat; having the Fleet humiliated would only make things worse.

              A naval setback could have caused a delay in sending US troops over, thus denying the Allies a big morale boost. The USA had side-stepped into the conflict with mixed feelings; keeping the Army home would certainly settle the primary source of outrage, which was Germany's offer of US states to Mexico. Wilson had to walk a thin line.

              Churchill noted that Beatty was the man who could lose the war in a single afternoon.
              Firstly, Churchill's remark referred to John Jellicoe, not to Beatty, and was made well after the war had ended.

              Secondly, the Royal Navy did not, overall, perform badly. The main battlefleet was hardly injured. Other than torpedo damage to Marlborough, and more serious damage to Warspite following her steering problems, Jellicoe could still report, the day after Jutland, 23 battleships and 4 battlecruisers fit for sea, and within a month 4 further battleships and a battlecruiser had reinforced his fleet. By contrast, the High Seas Fleet had only 10 battleships and no battlecruisers fit for sea.

              The suggestion that the RN performed badly is presumably based on the failings of Beatty's force, which have generally been blamed upon inadequate armour but more probably should be ascribed to the foolish idea, encouraged by Sir David, that rate of fire was all-important, and as a result his battlecruisers failed to adhere to proper cordite and shell handling techniques. The reality was that, on the two brief occasions when the two fleets came into contact, Scheer was obliged to turn and withdraw within minutes. There have been subsequent criticisms of Jellicoe for turning away, not towards, massed German torpedo attacks, but cohesion of his fleet would inevitably have been lost, and the reality is that it is difficult to inflict a defeat on an opposing force which is as fast as the fleet seeking the action, but chooses (wisely) not to fight.

              Jutland was indisputably a strategic victory, as evidenced by the failure of the High Seas Fleet to make any further meaningful contribution to the German cause. As early as January, 1917, there had been evidence of discontent among the crews of the HSF. Anti-war slogans began to appear on notice boards in warships, and by June this had expanded to hunger strikes, refusal to work, and unauthorised leave-taking. In August, there were anti-war speeches, protests, and demonstrations aboard many ships. As a result, Scheer was obliged to arrest and court-martial over 200 men from one battleship alone.

              Finally, by October, 1918, it would have been too late for any German naval success to have resulted in the suspension of dispatch of American troops to France, as they were already 'over there.'

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              • #8
                Hi

                DS post is spot on.

                I believe the last foray plan was known as Operational Plan No19

                I'll just add that the German military in 1918 was but a shadow of its former self. Yes there had been improvements in tactics and weapons, but these had been matched by the Allies, and they had the reserves and muscle to outlast Germany
                Many people ramble on about the Allied morale as if the German were immune from any sort of discontent, yet as the noted German historian Wilhelm Deist described the circa 1,000,000men German soldiers who voluntarily went into captivity or deserted during the final year of the war as "a cloaked military strike"

                Regards

                Andy H
                "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

                "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Andy H View Post
                  Hi

                  DS post is spot on.

                  I believe the last foray plan was known as Operational Plan No19

                  I'll just add that the German military in 1918 was but a shadow of its former self. Yes there had been improvements in tactics and weapons, but these had been matched by the Allies, and they had the reserves and muscle to outlast Germany
                  Many people ramble on about the Allied morale as if the German were immune from any sort of discontent, yet as the noted German historian Wilhelm Deist described the circa 1,000,000men German soldiers who voluntarily went into captivity or deserted during the final year of the war as "a cloaked military strike"

                  Regards

                  Andy H
                  This would be true if it weren't for the fact that within the space of a year the Russians went under, Italy received a devastating defeat, and the Kaiser Offensive did what the Allies never did accomplish: a main line of resistance was not just penetrated, but smashed and the 'green fields beyond' reached.

                  The failing of historians is to look back with the end result known. If you read what was written in the actual days, with the fate uncertain, you get a much different picture.

                  The German Army of 1917-18 was the best it ever was. It had adapted to the battlefield, developed innovative equipment and tactics, and was capable of breaking the deadlock.

                  The French Army was mutinous, the British Army still led by the incompetent butcher Haig, and the Italians needed Allied troops to prop up their demoralized army.

                  Both sides were stretched to the breaking point.

                  And Diest's opinion in his descriptions, made long after the war, are nothing more than his political agenda inserted into print.

                  The fact is that the Allies ended the war by negotiation, without ever having ejected the Germans from occupied soil. It is not hard to see the same result occurring in reverse. After four years of pointless slaughter the breaking point on both sides were painfully clear.
                  Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post

                    This would be true if it weren't for the fact that within the space of a year the Russians went under, Italy received a devastating defeat, and the Kaiser Offensive did what the Allies never did accomplish: a main line of resistance was not just penetrated, but smashed and the 'green fields beyond' reached.

                    The failing of historians is to look back with the end result known. If you read what was written in the actual days, with the fate uncertain, you get a much different picture.

                    The German Army of 1917-18 was the best it ever was. It had adapted to the battlefield, developed innovative equipment and tactics, and was capable of breaking the deadlock.

                    The French Army was mutinous, the British Army still led by the incompetent butcher Haig, and the Italians needed Allied troops to prop up their demoralized army.

                    Both sides were stretched to the breaking point.

                    And Diest's opinion in his descriptions, made long after the war, are nothing more than his political agenda inserted into print.

                    The fact is that the Allies ended the war by negotiation, without ever having ejected the Germans from occupied soil. It is not hard to see the same result occurring in reverse. After four years of pointless slaughter the breaking point on both sides were painfully clear.
                    The German army was collapsing in autumn 1918. Since Amiens there had been a string of Allied victories and the Hindenburg line had been breached.

                    It as not a negotiated peace. For practical purposes the Armistice was a surrender. The Germans were given the terms and signed. The only adjustment they were alowed to make was to correct the number of submarines that they had. The Terms required them to hand over more than they had.

                    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Days_Offensive


                    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armi..._November_1918


                    "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Surrey View Post
                      In October 1918 the High Seas Fleet was ordered to put to sea to raid the Channel and Thames estuary. In real life the Fleet mutineed and refused to sail on what was perceived to be a suicide mission. But what if it had sailed and presumably been intercepted by the Grand Fleet in a re run of Jutland.
                      Interesting proposition. I hope that the developers (or playes) for Steam and Iron see this and make such a scenario possible. It would be fun to fight such a battle.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Herman Hum View Post

                        Interesting proposition. I hope that the developers (or playes) for Steam and Iron see this and make such a scenario possible. It would be fun to fight such a battle.
                        I got the idea from a you tube clip I saw that discussed the scenario. Drachinifel if you have ever heard of it?
                        The clip said that they had wargamed the scenario. In the game the Germans were anhilated, I don't think any capital ships get back to Germany, but the Allies do lose a few battleships with quite a few overs being heavily damaged.
                        Also according to the clip the Grand Fleet would have had nearly twice as many, 35 vs 18 battleships.
                        The clip did assume that several German battleships surrender.
                        "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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                        • #13
                          I don't see the German fleet being able to accomplish anything other than wasting more lives of their own men. The German mutiny was probably the most intelligent thing they did of the entire war, and unlike the French soldier's revolt of 1917...what the German navy did was a real mutiny in every sense of the word. However, people studying this time of the war often omit the fact that there were sections of the German army which were on the precipice of doing the same, and the civilian population back home was beginning to make some revolutionary, Bolshevik noises which politically were just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than what was developing on the Western Front.

                          Politically and in terms of morale, Germany was a spent force by the time 1918 rolled around. The Spring Offensive was a criminal waste of their own youth based on an intelligence network which was faulty and overconfident (if even unrealistic) in the results they hoped to achieve. The arrogance of their own high command, notably Ludendorff was unhelpful. I believe there are ample sources indicating many German officers had arrived at such conclusions but were afraid to speak openly about it.

                          It is no coincidence they sued for peace in November 1918...they needed something of an force left to control the inevitable rioting back home.

                          In my opinion, Germany had only two real chances at decisively winning the war: August-September with the Schlieffen Plan...which they botched at the very cusp of a victory...and in 1917 when the French infantry revolted...an incredible event which the Germans failed to register until it was over, in turn reinforcing the fact that their intelligence services was pathetically useless.
                          You'll live, only the best get killed.

                          -General Charles de Gaulle

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                            Germany could afford to lose their entire fleet and it would change nothing. For the British, the loss of a major portion of the Royal Navy in a fight would be a disaster. Britain needed a strong navy as a sea power. For Germany, a land power, a fleet was a luxury. If you coupled this with the Kaiser's offensive and the breaking of the front and collapse of the British Third Army, among other large formations, it could have been a political perfect storm.
                            Even assuming Britain does take heavy losses - by no means a sound assumption - a strong navy is something that could be rebuilt. With the High Seas Fleet gone Britain didn't have a naval rival to worry about in the short term. The US, France & Japan were allies. No one was going to challenge British naval power in any sort of time frame that would be an issue here.

                            There would undoubtedly be a hit to morale, but the extent of that would be dictated by the ultimate outcome. If the High Seas Fleet is wiped out then Britain can trumpet a smashing victory to balance the losses. German, on the other hand, has just sunk its fleet & lost thousands of lives for nothing. How is that going to play to a mutinous military & a rebellious populace? This will collapse Germany quicker than it does Britain.

                            Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

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                            • #15
                              This would be true if it weren't for the fact that within the space of a year the Russians went under, Italy received a devastating defeat, and the Kaiser Offensive did what the Allies never did accomplish: a main line of resistance was not just penetrated, but smashed and the 'green fields beyond' reached.

                              The failing of historians is to look back with the end result known. If you read what was written in the actual days, with the fate uncertain, you get a much different picture.

                              The German Army of 1917-18 was the best it ever was. It had adapted to the battlefield, developed innovative equipment and tactics, and was capable of breaking the deadlock.
                              Hi AJR

                              And still they lost-go figure!

                              Yes they broke the Allied MBL but they couldn't exploit what they had achieved, because the Britsh/French forces were able to exploit their strengths. It was the WWI equivalent of the Battle of the Bulge. A last desperate roll of the dice with miniscule chance of changing anything in the longterm.

                              I'll agree with you that the documents of the day paint a different picture than some historians, however that's not stopped you in the past adopting the same criteria of accepting a historians POV over the actual historical thought of the day. You need to make your mind up mate

                              The Lions lead by Donkeys adage has been knocked back somewhat over the past decade, as analysis of German records has often supported what the British High and itsCommand thought and acted upon. Yep they still made mistakes but every General does and your Haig the Butcher comment shows a naive understanding of the nuances of WWI. Its like calling Pershing a battlefield genius without acknowledgement of his faults and mistakes.

                              For Germany to win the war from March 1918 onwards would require a devine miracle. Its economy was in ruins the population on the breadline and beyond, its finances were scarlet let alone in the red and its manpower all but gone. Compare that to the Allies and its almost a polar opposite in every sphere and then some.

                              Regards

                              Andy H
                              "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

                              "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

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